Educators have known that games could be used to supplement educational strategies for years. The Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? series and The Oregon Trail series are examples of games teachers used to supplement classroom material. Social games have opened up a new educational area, the area of social-emotional learning. Happify, an education technology company, is offering teachers the tools they need to teach young students social and emotional skills through online gaming.
The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act means that schools need to focus less on standardized testing. Extreme focus on standardized testing drew controversy because many schools are teaching students to take tests instead of teaching them real-world skills, according to teachers and many parents. Adding social games to a teacher’s toolkit allows a teacher to reach more students and engage students with different learning styles. Such programs might also help people with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning forms of Autism develop these skills.
Traditional educational models ignore teaching children the social skills they need during their elementary school years. Students must navigate this area with little help from instructors. Happify developers believe these apps can help students whose skills are lagging.
The worry about selling data is well-founded. Social gaming companies often use their games to collect marketing data on players. This data is then sold to other companies. Happify stresses that administrators need to be aware of such concerns and use the appropriate privacy settings to protect students.